Police in Birmingham, Michigan police are investigating whether a man who gave a Nazi salute during a school board meeting committed a hate crime. During the Birmingham Board of Education meeting Wednesday evening, board members and parents gathered to talk about a school mask mandate. After the board announced that staff and students would be required to wear face coverings when school starts, some attendees were furious. They spread disinformation about how masks are dangerous for children—but the raucous didn’t stop there.
As a Black woman and Jewish woman got up to speak at the meeting and show their support for a mask mandate, one attendee stood up and said, “Heil Hitler” while making a Nazi salute. Two men behind him are reported to have repeated the phrase. Superintendent Embekka Roberson wrote in a letter to parents that the district “emphatically denounces and will not tolerate” racism or violence. “Last night’s meeting did not consistently display the behaviors that we expect from our students and community,” she wrote. Despite the awkward interruption, the meeting continued with some parents even threatening to remove their children from school if they will be required to wear masks.